‘We’re saving the River Thame for future generations’

Environmentalist Doug Kennedy on a stretch of the River Thame at Cuddington Mill, Bucks
Environmentalist Doug Kennedy on a stretch of the River Thame at Cuddington Mill, Bucks

The River Thame is a lovely Bucks river which really gets going at Aylesbury, then flows through its lovely valley past the picturesque villages of Hartwell, Winchendon, Cuddington, Chearsley and Long Crendon.

It leaves the county Thame and joins the Thames at Dorchester.

Above Aylesbury, and along its way, the Thame is fed by a number of brooks and also by the Aylesbury sewage treatment plant, who’s job it is to turn our waste into clean, clear water.

Sadly the Thame has suffered from a series of pollution events and careless management, culminating in the sewage pollution last July that turned the river black and killed most of the fish and insects.

People who know the river well were horrified by this, so I started to bring all of them together under the banner of ‘Save The River Thame’.

At the time, Thames Water were upgrading the Aylesbury works because of the ageing equipment and increased housing, so now it is working efficiently and the management are committed to improving the health of the river and its wildlife.

They are developing a wildlife area adjacent to the sewage works that already has a lot of wildlife and could well become a great place to visit in future years.

New meadows and reed beds are being created next to the Berrylands housing developments, and together with AVDC’s enhancements to the canal and Waterside, the future is looking much brighter for the river.

However, a lot more needs to be done to secure the long-term restoration of the Thame and its wildlife.

Severe pollution events have been occurring about every decade, so vigilance is needed to ensure that what goes into the river isn’t damaging it.

Save The River Thame now has a Working Group that has already set up a team of people who are monitoring the river water at points across the valley for chemical pollutants.

We plan to go on collecting this data for many years, working with the authorities to keep the river healthy.

The most important thing is for all of us to take a greater interest in our lovely river and to tell our politicians and Thames Water that it matters.

We are looking for more testers, but also want to expand our monitoring to wildlife as the best indicator of the overall health of the river.

If you are interested in this, just being kept informed, please look at our current web page on www.doug-kennedy.com or contact us at riverthame1@gmail.com.